Did you know that rhubarb is good for you? Some even consider it a contender for joining the long list of “superfoods“. It’s no secret that rhubarb is packed with minerals and vitamins, but it also has something called polyphenols — an anti-cancerous compound that scientists are claiming may help prevent the growth of cancer cells. So eating a nice spring crumble or these tasty muffins could actually be more than just a little good for you! At least that’s what I tell myself when I’m on my third one of these muffins.
I consider these healthy — they are low in sugar and are made with nutty wholegrain spelt flour, natural Greek yogurt, extra-virgin olive oil, tangy rhubarb, and crunchy pecans. That’s right, don’t be afraid of a little fat. Not only does it help you absorb valuable nutrients found in vegetables (Remember? That’s right, rhubarb is in fact a vegetable — it was the United States Customs Court that ruled it a fruit!), but olive oil also has valuable heart-healthy effects. So go ahead and enjoy this perfect breakfast or as on-the-go snack!
For these muffins, I used unrefined whole grain spelt flour. Spelt is an ancient grain related to wheat that has a fabulous nutty and complex flavor. Compared to traditional wheat flours, it offers a wider range of nutrients, has one of the highest dietary fiber contents of wheat varieties, and is easier on the digestive system due relatively low gluten content when compared to whole wheat flour and even all-purpose flour.
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Spelt flour is a nutritious alternative to regular wheat flours, but as expected, it’s high in carbohydrates. On the upside, it contains surprisingly high levels of protein (21% of your daily recommended intake), plus it loaded up on dietary fiber (30% per serving!) and has 65% more amino acids than traditional wheat flours. Very impressive. And adding to an already remarkable list, spelt is water soluble, making it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients – why by the way, is why some people with wheat sensitivities are able to tolerate it, even though it’s not gluten free.
Pecan Rhubarb Muffins
Yields one dozen muffins
2 1/2 cups whole spelt flour (you can also use whole wheat or a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, if desired) (310 g)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla powder
2 large eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar (I recommend GEPA organic raw cane sugar Mascobado) (65 g)
1 cup Greek yogurt (full fat) (280 g – about one and a third (200 g) containers of yogurt)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (125 ml)
1 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped (225 g)
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (50 g)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C. Grease or line a 12-hole muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.
3. In a smaller bowl, beat together the eggs. Then add the brown sugar, yogurt and oil; mix until combined.
4. Gently stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture, until just combined. Do not over-mix!
5. Gently fold in the rhubarb and nuts.
6.Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan, filling the cups nearly full. Bake for about 18 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7.Cool in the tray for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. After completely cooled, store them in an air-tight container at room temperature–they are still good the next day!